Barclays Capital on Thursday said it expects U.S. natural gas to average $3.25 per million British thermal units in 2013, citing a slight slowdown in production, while maintaining its forecasts for Brent crude oil for 2012 and 2015.
The bank said it maintained its 2012 and 2015 Brent price forecast at $115 and $135 per barrel, respectively, with the balance of risk to the upside.
"However, should the scenario of a rapid deterioration in Iran's external relations, with no resolution in 2012, continue to force itself into the base case, we would expect the annual average to be as much as $20 higher," the investment bank said.
Barclays' natural gas estimate of $3.25 for 2013 is down from its previous estimate of $3.70 within the last month but up from its revised estimate of $3.05 for 2012.
The bank's previous estimate for 2012 was $3.80.
"The cuts reflect the impact of warm weather in 2012 and the fact that supply has been outrunning our estimates," said Michael Zenker, managing director at Barclays Capital Commodities Research in New York.